Video: PIIA event on Afghanistan

PIIA recently held a talk on the Afghan conflict and foreign forces are to blame for the Afghan conflict according to Rustam Shah Mohmand. Indeed, the former Pakistani Ambassador to Afghanistan urges Pakistan to shift focus away from India.“The India-centric approach will have to be reviewed because it doesn’t deliver much” he said.

Shafaq Khursheed: Beloved “Our Lady” of Paris

Clouds of grief surrounded Paris when the beloved Notre Dame caught the raging inferno at dusk of April the 15th. Notre Dame is French term for “Our Lady” which refers to Virgin Mary. As the name suggests, the sentiments of people for this medieval icon are profound. What happened to this beautiful cathedral is not just a tragic disaster for Catholics but for people across the globe who admired and respected this amazing feat of architecture and its significance. Millions of people witnessed the destruction with horror and silent prayers for its survival. The gothic edifice was built 850 years ago, the first stone was laid in 1163 but it took 200 years in addition to complete its structure. This beautiful icon has survived damages of French Revolution and the two World Wars largely unscathed and has been the French capital’s most famous landmark since. Around 13 million visitors from all over the world come every year to pray and view sacred items and to see the wonderful artwork and relics including Christ’s crown of thrones which he wore before the crucifixion.

Although there has been no loss of life in the tragedy but the damage of culture, history, art and heritage is too big to turn a blind eye to. Monuments like these are not only a source of attraction for tourists but they represent a certain era. They have the power to take one back in a particular time of history and serves a great opportunity of learning and imagination. Notre Dame represented the true cultural significance of French History. The building’s proud spire and wooden roof now lie in ruins and the interior almost entirely destroyed. The funds to restore the cathedral has topped 700 million dollars in just 24 hours and the French President Emmanuel Macron vows to make the monument stand tall again in a span of five years.

But the bottom line is, the reconstruction would just be an alteration of the rich medieval gothic architecture which it was famous for and even that is not possible in just five years time. Lastly, this is an alarming reminder for the global community and especially the third world countries to preserve heritage sites and buildings as well as maintain their classicism and own them for they are the true representation of how civilized a nation is.

The author, Shafaq Khursheed, is a researcher at PIIA. Continue reading

Video from PIIA event on CPEC

Professor Matthew McCartney , a renowned specialist in development in South Asia, addressed the members of the PIIA on 31 March 2019. “CPEC really does seem like the culmination of a much longer economic cooperation with China for Pakistan. So here is a long-term committed China-Pakistan relationship unlike what the USA is criticised of,” he said. “Still, there may be a lot more going on other than China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative outside Pakistan that is happening inside it, which is crucial to know for a big project of $60bn, that is CPEC.” The video for the event is below.

Video of our recent event on the current standoff between India and Pakistan

The video of our event on the future of current stand-off between India and Pakistan is available below. Retired Lt Gen Tariq Waseem Ghazi and ambassador Najmuddin Shaikh were the distinguished speakers at this occasion.

Brexit: The Chequers White Paper

An embattled Theresa May made the proposals in this paper to her cabinet and her Brexit Secretary, David Davis, resigned. Then Boris Johnson resigned as Foreign Secretary to humiliate her further. Trump gave an interview to the Sun trashing May’s proposals and said that Boris Johnson would make a better Prime Minister. He said that he told May how to do Brexit but she would not listen to him. But the catty Mrs May was able to pull one back and Trump repeatedly held hands with her during their joint press conference commending the prime minister as a “terrific woman” and saying that he would want her as a friend and not an enemy and that she was “doing a fantastic job” . The Chequers White Paper and press conference are below. Prior to these events Trump had played disrupter-in-chief at NATO and accused Germany of being a Russian pawn because of its reliance on Russian gas.

Brexit: The Withdrawal Agreement

The draft Withdrawal Agreement of 19 March 2018 includes agreed legal text for the implementation period, citizens’ rights, and the financial settlement, as well as a significant number of other articles. The UK and the EU negotiating teams aim to finalise the entire Withdrawal Agreement by October 2018.

My Dawn Years: Exploring Social Issues

An absolute must read for anyone in media and journalism

It was like coming full circle for veteran journalist and columnist Zubeida Mustafa for the launch of her book My Dawn Years: Exploring Social Issues at The Pakistan Institute of International Affairs (PIIA) on Saturday. “She worked here as a researcher first,” said Dr Masuma Hasan while introducing the journalist, admired and looked up by many present there at the PIIA library lining up for the author to sign their copies of the book. “Later she joined Dawn newspaper and that was really where she built her career,” Dr Masuma continued. Mohammad Ali Siddiqi, Dawn’s Readers’ Editor, joked that recently when in a piece published in the paper he referred to himself as “a Dawn man” he received much flak for it because readers wanted to know if the journalists in Dawn called themselves that then where did the women journalists fit in?

“So we had it corrected in the online version,” he said turning to his former colleague to proudly say that they had worked together for four decades.

“In chapter 12 of her book, Zubeida writes that she has worked with four editors — the legendary Ahmad Ali Khan, who hired her in 1973, Saleem Asmi, Tahir Mirza and Abbas Nasir. But you will come across the mention of Khan Sahab again and again,” said Mr Siddiqi, adding that he was her mentor and mentors became like family members for their mentees. Continue reading